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 The Principles of Theology

by W.H.Griffith Thomas

THE RULE OF FAITH

ARTICLES 6 – 8

6. The Sufficiency Of The Holy Scriptures For Salvation
7. The Old Testament
8. The Three Creeds

The subject of the Rule of Faith should obviously be considered before discussing particular doctrines included in the Faith. It is only natural and right to think of the depository of Faith before we attempt to elicit the various aspects of teaching found therein. And so the doctrines discussed in the first five Articles are derivable only from Scripture, the fount of essential Christian truth, which is the subject of Article 6. From another standpoint it may be possible to regard the present as the logical order, that is, if we think of the doctrines of the Godhead as in general a Revelation, and then proceed to consider the seat and sphere wherein that Revelation is manifested and declared.[1] But in view of the fact that the Articles are concerned with the substance of specific Christian doctrine the present arrangement is not appropriate to logical order. For symmetry and proportion we naturally ascertain the depository of our Faith before we examine the contents. It is also interesting to observe that the Helvetic Confessions and the Westminster Confession, together with the Irish Articles of 1615, put an Article on Scripture in the first place.[2] Our order is doubtless due to the fact that the Reformers were desirous of exhibiting the common Faith of Christendom before dwelling upon the differences between us and Rome, of which the question of the Rule of Faith is one of the chief. Everything depends upon the point of view. In a sense we say first of all, “I believe in God,” before we bear our testimony to the Scripture as the Word of God. But inasmuch as our faith in God in this sense is only concerned with the conviction of His existence, and of a revelation from Him, the true spiritual order is, “I believe God has spoken through His word,” and then, “I examine that Word to see Who and what God is, and what He has said and done.”

 

[1] This aspect of the subject is taken by Maclear, who quotes Salmon’s Introduction to the New Testament, p. 1:
“For after settling that there is a Revelation, the question follows, How is that Revelation to be made known to us? What are the Books that record it? In other words, What is the Canon of Scripture?”

 

[2] “Et in hac Scriptura sancta habet universalis Christi ecclesia plenissime exposita quæcunque pertinent, cum ad salvificam fidem, tum ad vitam Deo placentem, recte informandam. Quo nomine distincte a Deo præceptum est, ne ei aliquid vel addatur vel detrahatur” (Second Helvetic Confession, Article 1).

 

 

 

>>Article 6

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The Principles of Theology

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>> 39 Articles Issues pages

>> Griffith-Thomas biography


Content of The Principles

>> Index

>> Preface by J I Packer

>> Introduction

>> 1 - Trinity

>> 2 - Christ

>> 3 - Descent into Hell

>> 4 - Resurrection

>> 5 - Holy Spirit

>> 6 - Holy Scripture

>> 7 - The Old Testament

>> 8 - The Three Creeds

>> 9 - Of Original or Birth Sin

>> 10 - Of Free Will

>> 11 - Of the Justifcation of Man

 



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